When it comes to K-dramas, 2017 has marked the return of melodramas and suspense thrillers. Case in point: the two most popular K-dramas as proven by Korean viewership ratings and internet views internationally are Defendant and Voice. The former drama starring Ji Sung and Yuri of Girls’ Generation is about a prosecutor who finds himself on death row without any knowledge of the crime he is convicted for, the murder of his wife and daughter. As for the latter drama starring Jang Hyuk and Lee Ha Na, it is about a former detective and call center officer working together to find the serial killer who killed their loved ones three years ago while working together on the “Golden Time” team.
Sadly, not all K-dramas listed under the blanket terms of melodramas and suspense thrillers are doing well. Missing 9, currently airing on the Munhwa Broadcasting Corporation (MBC), is suffering and has the lowest viewership among both domestic and international K-drama fans in general. Now halfway through the series, what can MBC do to improve on Missing 9 so it isn’t a total loss?
For those who are unfamiliar with the suspense thriller currently airing on MBC starring Baek Jin Hee (Empress Ki, Triangle) and Jung Kyung Po (Falling for Innocence, One More Happy Ending), it is a story of survival after nine people in the entertainment industry survive a plane crash and are stranded on a deserted island. Three months after the plane crash incident, one of the nine survivors, Ra Bong Hee (Jin Hee), is found in China. Through her, investigators try to find the remaining eight survivors of the plane crash.
From the simple synopsis of Missing 9 above, it does have the potential to keep K-drama fans on the edge of their seats. However, the viewership ratings provided by both AGB Nielsen Korea and TNmS Media Korea prove that many Koreans are not interested. Simply put, every episode has earned less than or equal to 7 percent in viewership for both the nation and the Seoul National Capital Area. On top of that, the viewership is actually decreasing.
The question is, what can MBC do to save Missing 9? Believe it or not, almost all of the K-drama’s problems stem from one detail and that is the fact that it is trying to tell two stories at the same time.
Missing 9 is trying to show the survivors of the plane crash and what happens afterwards but also simultaneously shows one of the survivors, Ra Bong Hee, being found and trying to remember what happened while some “antagonistic individuals” try to stop her from remembering. Summarized, Missing 9 is two story lines interlinked into each other.
Sadly, the cast is too expansive to be split among two story lines. This causes both of the stories to come off as rushed with the characters getting less screen time. This is definitely true for secondary and supporting characters who are vital to the story. Their development is important but that too is cut by the two-story concept used. Ultimately, this leave Missing 9 being a huge mess with many holes in the story and details about certain characters remaining unknown thus adding to the confusion.
At this point, it may be too late for MBC to do anything about Missing 9 given that 10 of the episodes would have aired by the end of this week. With only six more episodes remaining, MBC will probably have no choice but to go back to back with K-drama flops as the predecessor to Missing 9, Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo, was also a flop.
Missing 9 airs on Wednesdays and Thursdays at 10 p.m. KST on MBC. For those who don’t have access to Korean public channels, it can be viewed exclusively on DramaFever by its fully written title Missing Nine.
[Featured Image by the Munhwa Broadcasting Corporation (MBC)]